This was an interesting game for Sega Genesis. In addition to the it being a game of its own, the cartridge had a second cartridge slot. One could insert a previous Sonic game, and it would patch the ROM to give additional functionality. One can play as Sonic the Hedgehog or Knuckles, which was some sort of red animal (don't remember which).

The continuation of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 for the Sega Genesis. In fact, in Japan Sonic the Hedgehog 3 had all of the Sonic and Knuckles levels and features built in, eliminating the need for this lockon cart. The game plays normally without a Sonic 3 cartridge, although for the maximum enjoyment one really should combine the two cartridges (The result of combining the cartridges is discussed in the Sonic 3 and Knuckles node).

Sonic and Knuckles picks up right where Sonic the Hedgehog 3 left off: with Dr. Robotnik's Death Egg crashing into the Floating Island. Only the Master Emerald can repair the Death Egg, so the mad doctor goes looking for the ancient gem. At the same time, Sonic the Hedgehog is searching for the Master Emerald to keep it out of Dr. Robotnik's clutches. Meanwhile, Knuckles the Echidna (the guardian of the Master Emerald) is trying to keep both of them from finding the gem. It's a three-sided race to get to the finish!

Players can choose to play as either Sonic the Hedgehog or Knuckles the Echidna. Sonic retains all his moves and powers from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. This is the first time Knuckles is playable, so therefore all of his moves are new. Like Sonic he can do a spin dash, run fast, and jump. However, he can also glide through the air and climb up walls. These skills make him more agile than the blue blur, however he is unable to jump as high as Sonic. Knuckles is also unable to use the powers of the shields - Electric, Fire, and Water - from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Tails does not appear in the game at all.

Sonic and Knuckles uses the same system of bonus rounds as Sonic the Hedgehog 3 to enable the chosen character to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds. Collcting them all allows the character to become Super Sonic/Hyper Knuckles after collecting 50 rings.

Sonic and Knuckles progress through the following levels during their travels:

  • Mushroom Hill Zone
  • Flying Battery Zone
  • Sandopolis Zone
  • Lava Reef Zone
  • Hidden Palace Zone
  • Sky Sanctuary Zone (Knuckles' game ends here)
  • Death Egg Zone (Sonic's game ends here if he does not collect all the Chaos Emeralds)
  • Doomsday Zone (Only accessible if Sonic has all the Chaos Emeralds)
To fully experience the full scope of the game it is recommended to play through the game twice: once as Sonic and once as Knuckles. Each character follows a different path through the levels, so just because you've completed a level with one character does not mean that you've seen all there is to see.

This was the final traditional 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game on the Sega Genesis, and it's obvious that Sega pulled out all the stops. Every level has a gimmick of some sort that will keep players coming back for more. Plus, as mentioned earlier, the cartridge can be connected to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 to form one complete story arc as well as allowing Tails to explore the Sonic and Knuckles levels. The game can also be connected to Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to allow Knuckles to journey through that game, unveiling new challenges to be discovered as Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Connecting the game to Sonic Spinball and the original Sonic the Hedgehog unlocks access to new levels of the Blue Sphere bonus levels.

Besides its Sega Genesis debut, Sonic and Knuckles appeared in The Sonic and Knuckles Collection for the PC, Sonic Jam for the Sega Saturn, and Sonic Mega Collection for the Nintendo GameCube. Some of these are easy to find (such as Sonic Mega Collection, being new and all) while others are fairly obscure and rare these days (such as Sonic Jam).

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